Prakash attends 1st meet with Kejriwal after 'assault'; top 10 developments

Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash (Photo: PTI)
Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday attended a Cabinet meeting to finalise dates for the Delhi Assembly's Budget Session, his first official meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal since he was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs on February 19, PTI reported.

Prakash in a letter to Kejriwal hours before the meeting said he would attend it to discuss important budget matters, assuming that the chief minister ensures "no physical attack and verbal assault" on officers attending the meet.

The Cabinet has decided that the Budget Session would be held from March 16 to 28.

Meanwhile, the Delhi court has denied bail to AAP MLA Prakash Jarwal who was arrested in connection with the alleged assault.

Earlier in the day, the tussle between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and government officers intensified, with the latter demanding action against Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in the case.

The bureaucrats continued to boycott meetings even as the Delhi government made concerted efforts to end the crisis. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday wrote to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, urging him to order officers to resume work. In his letter, Sisodia asserted that if service matters were under the Delhi government's ambit, "rule of law" would have been followed.

"If services were our subject, we would have certainly ensured that the rule of law was followed and the constitutional scheme of functioning was complied with," Sisodia wrote in the letter.

 
"But since you, as the L-G are in charge of services, we can only appeal to your constitutional obligation, in hope that you would follow the diktat of law," he added.

Prakash's allegations led to a crisis in Delhi as senior government employees refused to meet ministers and MLAs until Kejriwal apologised over the incident. Delhi police has registered an FIR based on Prakash's complaint and arrested two AAP lawmakers -- Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal. Police had also conducted a search operation at Kejriwal's residence and seized a hard disk of the CCTV camera system.

Here are the top 10 developments around the political storm that has gripped AAP and Delhi:

1. Chief Secretary Prakash attends Cabinet meeting: Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday attended a Cabinet meeting to finalise dates for the Delhi Assembly's Budget Session, his first official meet with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal since he was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs last week.

Hours before the meeting, Prakash in a letter to Kejriwal, said he would attend it to discuss important budget matters, assuming that the chief minister ensures "no physical attack and verbal assault" on officers attending the meet.

In his letter, Prakash said, "A meeting of the Council of Ministers has been scheduled (today) to discuss important matters of finalisation of dates for the Budget Session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly."

"Since finalising the dates of the Budget Session and passing of the budget are important for the functioning of government, I along with officers concerned, will be attending the meeting," he said.

 

#Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash writes to Delhi CM over today's meeting of council of ministers on budget session, says, 'will attend the meeting on the assumption that CM will ensure there is no physical attack & verbal assault on the officers' pic.twitter.com/NpfAr80EMV

— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2018

Prakash said that he hoped that in the Cabinet meeting, proper decorum would be maintained and dignity of officers would be protected.

2. Delhi court denies bail to AAP MLA Jarwal: The Delhi Court has refused to grant bail to AAP legislator Prakash Jarwal who was arrested in connection with the alleged assault on Prakash, PTI reported.

Special judge Anju Bajaj Chandna refused to consider the bail plea of Jarwal, an MLA from Deoli constituency here, who had sought the relief on the ground that he was young and recently married.

"It was a matter in which a 56-year-old man's dignity was openly violated," the court said while pronouncing the order.

A magisterial court had earlier on February 23 refused to grant bail to two legislators Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan, in the assault case saying the matter cannot be treated in "a casual and routine manner" considering they were "history-sheeters".

3. Delhi government employees' body demands action: Delhi Government Employees Joint Forum, after a meeting, passed a resolution asking the LG and the Commissioner of Police to take action against Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. "The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are in denial (of the alleged attack on the Chief Secretary). This shows they are part of the conspiracy. We appeal to the LG and the Commissioner of Police to take action in accordance with the law against CM and Deputy CM." Pooja Joshi, a member of the forum, said.

Joshi further said that employees would not meet the chief minister, deputy chief minister and MLAs, nor will they talk to them over the phone. The only means of contact will be notes and file notings.

While turning down a meeting invitation by Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, the forum said that there would be no compromise until Kejriwal tendered a "written apology". 

In response, the minister said the government had to inch a step forward and speak to the officers. "This is a family and we are part of the family and have to work together. Trust building can't happen from one side... both sides have to come forward," he said.

4. Sisodia writes to LG: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday wrote to Lt Governor Anil Baijal asking him to order bureaucrats to resume work, while asserting that "rule of law" would have been followed if the services matter were under his Delhi government. He mentioned two meetings called by him that were skipped by senior officers of the department concerned to illustrate the prevailing scenario.

 "I would once again urge you on behalf of the entire council of ministers to order all officers to resume work with immediate effect," Sisodia wrote in the letter.

5. CCTV footage tampered? According to ANI, Delhi police on Monday claimed that the CCTV footage obtained from the residence of Arvind Kejriwal of the alleged assault on Prakash had been tampered with. "The CCTV timings are different and it's tampered," the news agency quoted Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Harendra Singh as saying.

The police will be sending the recorded footage to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to examine it. 

Singh on Monday informed the court that the meeting between the Delhi Chief Secretary and the AAP MLAs was not held in the camp office but in the drawing room of the CM residence. 

However, a Firstpost report says that police had not made any claim of tampering in the court. "It was informed to the court that the site visit revealed discrepancies in the timing. Only FSL will be able to tell if any tampering had been done. Please don't quote police with factually wrong information," the report quoted the Additional DCP as saying.

Delhi police had on Friday visited Kejriwal's residence and seized a hard disk of the CCTV camera system.

6. Delhi government mulling live streaming of official meetings: In a bid to prevent any such incident in the future, Delhi Government is planning to live stream all official meetings. "Through live streaming of official meetings, people will be able to know who spoke what in the meeting, be it the elected representative or officials," a Delhi official told PTI.

"Plan is also to put all file movement and file notings online for people to see who was working on a file for how long, who cleared it and who wrote what on a particular file, be it the elected government or officers," he added.

7. FIR against Delhi AAP MLA Naresh Balyan: In more trouble for the Aam Aadmi Party, an FIR was registered against AAP MLA Naresh Balyan on Saturday at the Dabri police station for saying that officers obstructing public work "should be beaten up".

Balyan has defended himself saying that his remarks were misconstrued. He said that he had only meant that the public had the right to beat up erring officials. "My contention was that the people should be given ration on the basis of their ration cards and that people have the right to beat up officials obstructing its implementation," he said.

8. Kejriwal's advisor says he saw AAP MLAs assaulting Prakash: V K Jain, Kejriwal's advisor, brought fresh troubles for the Delhi government after he contradicted his earlier statement about the alleged attack on Prakash. Delhi police told the court that "new facts" had emerged after interrogating Jain, who disclosed that he has seen the two MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan assaulting Prakash.

Jain had previously claimed that he had not seen anything as he was in the washroom when the alleged incident took place. 

"Jain has given us four names and we need police custody of both the MLAs (Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal) to unearth the whole conspiracy," the prosecutor said while moving a fresh plea for their custody.

9. AAP MLAs were miffed over Prakash delaying release of funds for publicity: In his statement to Delhi police, Jain said that as the meeting started the MLAs randomly started questioning the chief secretary about the delay in the release of funds for the AAP government's media publicity, which was regarding its achievement in education and fighting corruption.

10. Bureaucrats observe five minutes of silence every day: In protest against the incident, Delhi bureaucrats decided to observe 5-minutes of silence every day. The association of IAS and DANICS officers passed a resolution to observe a five-minute silence outside their offices on all working days at 1.30 pm every day to express their anguish over the "breach of faith" by the political executive of the Delhi government.

The officers also pledged not to meet ministers of Delhi government until Kejriwal apologises over the alleged attack. They decided to maintain only written communication.


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